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::Please Look At The Camera::

::Please Look At The Camera::
Photo Information
Copyright: Julia Hollis (Runnerduck) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 381 W: 57 N: 616] (1851)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-05-14
Categories: Birds
Camera: FujiFilm FinePix S5500, Hoya 55mm Cir-Polarizer
Exposure: f/3.1, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Swans [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-05-17 11:12
Viewed: 5619
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 80
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Mute Swan
(Cygnus olor)

When swimming the mute swan holds its neck in a graceful “S” curve with its bill pointing downward. Their long necks allow them to feed on the aquatic vegetation growing along the bottom without having to dive. The head and neck of the swans may become stained brown from the water and mud containing iron. Mute Swans are usually quiet, hence the name, but they will make hissing or high pitched purring noises if they are irritated. Their sounds are not far reaching because their trachea is almost straight with no convolutions as in the louder-voiced Trumpeter Swan.

The Mute Swans usually pair for life, and breed once per year. The nesting pair usually maintains a large territory on a small lake or pond, rarely nesting in a colony. The nest is usually a large pile of aquatic plants, sticks, reeds, roots and feathers. Both parents will vigorously defend the nest against predators. Mating usually occurs in early spring, and the eggs are laid
from April - early June. They usually lay 4-8 greenish grey eggs. The incubation is approximately 35-38 days, with the female doing all of the incubation. The cygnets (young) only remain in the nest 1 day and they usually take their first flight 100-120 days after they are hatched. The male will take the first cygnet to the water while the female continues to incubate the rest of the eggs. The chicks will sometimes ride on the backs of the parents or under their wings. Mute Swans can live up to 18 years in the wild, and 30 - 40 years in captivity. The oldest recorded Mute Swan in captivity lived to be 70 years old.


My life is full of strange coincidences, and this is one of them.
Last Saturday I left a critique on an image of cygnets, stating “I've never seen Swans this young before”.
Went out for a cycle along the canal that afternoon and . . .

There were approx 8/9 cygnets and both parents were present.

Image was cropped and contrast adjusted, and yes I know She’s overexposed but this is a cute image (LOL).

Thanks for taking the time to look.

dew77, bazzap, cafecrem, slrnovice2, Fisher, Robbrown, carper, PDP, IdoTT, red45, christophe, liquidsunshine, AndyB, Janice, JeanMichel, TAZ, marhowie, hummingbird24, cam has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To stugold: Thank youRunnerduck 1 07-14 18:49
To rimas: Thank youRunnerduck 1 07-13 06:25
To LCannon: Thank youRunnerduck 2 06-17 18:40
To cam: Thank youRunnerduck 1 06-14 11:14
To tucancr: Thank youRunnerduck 1 06-12 14:15
To mjdundee: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-26 06:52
To mumek: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-26 06:45
To elizemeijer: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-26 06:39
To cloverstar: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-23 05:56
To TAZ: Merci ......Runnerduck 1 05-19 07:52
To puciu: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-19 07:49
To jossim: Merci .....Runnerduck 1 05-19 07:29
To hummingbird24: Who wants to be a millionaire - I do !!Runnerduck 2 05-18 14:40
To flagman: ThanksRunnerduck 2 05-18 09:28
To manyee: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-18 03:13
To dew77: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-18 03:13
To Jancie: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-18 03:12
To AndyB: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-18 03:12
To liquidsunshine: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-18 03:11
To marhowie: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-18 03:11
To Toni: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-18 03:10
To ornis: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-18 03:10
To Robbrown: ThanksRunnerduck 2 05-17 18:53
To Fisher: 'Girl' .......... hmmmmmmmmRunnerduck 2 05-17 16:28
To ellis49: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:32
To twin: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:31
To christophe: ThankyouRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:30
To artabb: Wow ...Runnerduck 1 05-17 15:30
To red45: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:28
To IdoTT: Thank youRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:27
To PDP: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:26
To sAner: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:25
To Callie: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:23
To carper: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:22
To slrnovice2: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:08
To bazzap: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:06
To cafecrem: ThanksRunnerduck 1 05-17 15:06
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Julia!
Cute little swans. Amazing family showed very well by you. Thank you for this sweet picture.

Cute it is but I think the exposure in this case adds to the interest.The adult is almost glowing with pride having such cygnets. I like the speck of orange. Beautifully seen.

This is lovely Julia. I particularly like the contrast between the swans and the dark water. Great timing too, the adult looks kinda shy ;) and those cygnets look so fluffy! Good crop, I like the composition. TFS :)

Girl, did you ever capture a winner here.!!!
Excelent shot!!! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmoi!!!!
This is a painting that has to be hung on the wall!!! Beautiful work, now let me enjoy it for awhile. LOL :)
Comp, DOF, POV and presentation, a million thumbs up.


Hi Julia , over exposure of swans is a constant problem with them being so pure white. This is where I find shadows and highlights so usfull. that and ether centre weighted or spot lightmetering and trying to balance the dark aginst the very light.
Nice family picture, it is normal for both parents to guide and watch over them.
Our swans happy day is possibly thursday 19th May so we are keeping fingers crossed for a dry warm day.

It's so sweet Julia,
very good photo, I like the look of the mother, the composition is well taken, and the pov is very nice, very good job,
gr. Jaap

Hi Julia
A very nice pic of mom and her brood, nice mood and compo on the diagonal, makes for a strong impact picture. Exposure is great on mom too. A delighful image - TFS

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2005-05-17 13:43]
  • [+]

Good shot Julia, I like the composition and it doesn't matter to me that the chicks are not facing the camera, the parent is and the chicks are looking at him/her. Nice feeling to this one. Well done.

  • Great 
  • IdoTT Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 210 W: 19 N: 86] (482)
  • [2005-05-17 13:46]
  • [+]

HeHeHe... cute picture Julia!
Excellent light excellent BG!
I like the composition in the picture!


  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-05-17 14:28]
  • [+]

All family [almost all ;-)] on walk. Great moment, composition, quality. Cute birds in funny poses make sweet picture. TFS!

  • Great 
  • artabb (5)
  • [2005-05-17 14:43]
  • [+]

Julia, your picture is as almost good as a Rembrandt painting. The Reflections and the shades of colour are just stunning. A little twicking with Photoshop and you could call it a modern Caravaggio.


great shot Julia, excellent DOP
In a friendly way Christophe

  • Great 
  • twin Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 244 W: 17 N: 494] (3259)
  • [2005-05-17 15:06]
  • [+]

great composition of mum and her babies... the warm light coming from left side and the darkness at the background seems wonderful... congratulations Julia... it is so beautiful....
very well done...

Very nice picture, Julia.
Just a little overexposure, but very cute with a great POV and well composed. Nice colours and good details.
Very well done.

  • Great 
  • Toni Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 403 W: 2 N: 316] (2034)
  • [2005-05-17 17:51]
  • [+]

Perfect composition and great title. Nice reflection too. Bravo.
Regards Toni

This is a great shot Julia,
A lovely white swan on dark water looks excellent, and with some ickle cygnets...an absolute gem of a capture.
Perfect composition, and a great note.
Thanks for posting

  • Great 
  • AndyB Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1366 W: 32 N: 1351] (3982)
  • [2005-05-17 19:11]
  • [+]

A lovely capture Julia!
Excellent composition,lovely detail.
Just great,I love it!
Very well done.

Julia, overexposed or not, you get 100% from me! BEAUTIFUL!! Wonderful family shot, ex compo and the details and colours are super. Well shown and thank you...

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-05-18 0:54]
  • [+]

Julia,that's a lovely family shot! I liked the composition very much...TFS

Adorable family photo, Julia. The pose of the mother is priceless, and the cygnets are precious.Sharp details and great composition. TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2005-05-18 3:52]
  • [+]

Très belle et intéressante composition photographique bien réalisée pour cette adorable petite famille de cygnes. Jolies couleurs et bonne netteté.
Nice & Very Well Done !

This is a WINNER, Julia! So cute, so moving, so beautiful, so artistic, difficult to find the right words. A strong image due to the conjunction of many successful composition elements (diagonal, contrast, perspective, motion...). A pleasure for the eyes. Thanks and CONGRATULATIONS!

LOL! Perfect title! You think this sort of thing will make a great photo, then you realise just how difficult it is to get the 'perfect' shot. They are usually swimming away from you by the time you see them and it's too late to get a look at their faces! However, I really like it, the exposure is almost perfect, not 'all that' overexposed, and really sharp. Very well done.

Very nice Julia! Excellent shot of this mute swan with these little ducklings in tow..Excellent! Thanx for posting this great "group" photo!!!

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-05-18 6:35]
  • [+]

Hello Julia,

This is a very lovely picture. I also really like the contrast between the dark water and the light Swan-family. Composition is very nice, POV & DOF are good. Exposure is very good on most of the subjects, it's just that a part of the wing of the mother Swan is slightly OE. Nothing serious though. A fine picture. TFS!


This is a perfect shot to my eye, Julia!
You have a winner here and I am pleased to be able to share it. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this lovely image.

I hope you don't mind my trying this technique of yours Julia, but, I've never had a million dollars before...
Will let you know how that turns out! :-)
Thanks again.

  • Great 
  • puciu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 16] (2631)
  • [2005-05-18 15:04]
  • [+]

¦wietne zdjêcie pospolitego ptaka , dobre podej¶cie do tematu.

Tout est parfaits.


This so cute. The family, the reflections, composition; well everything is wonderful. You did fine job with this one.

Hello Julia,

Your picture looks so real. Fantastic!


  • Great 
  • mumek Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 104 W: 0 N: 180] (853)
  • [2005-05-24 13:55]
  • [+]

Good afternoon Julia!
Fantastic capture of the family.Very cute babies.Excellent light and contrast. Very well seen and done.Thanks for posting

this is too cute !!! compo is very very good. Love how mom looks back at the babes.

do you accept an iou ??

ps the cousins in Gouda, Netherlands say hi ;)

Hi Julia, this is a majestic shot, the gesture captured on the mom is too good, composition and colors are great, TFS Iris

Julia, this photo is so sweet, I think the brilliant white of the parent just emphasises the soft grey of the young ones. Very charming photo, the babies look so soft and sweet. Well done.

  • Great 
  • cam Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 85 W: 0 N: 78] (360)
  • [2005-06-13 16:59]
  • [+]

Hello Julia.
Lucky you.Everything is so sharp in a beautiful composition.
You must be proud of this gem.

  • Great 
  • rimas Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 157 W: 3 N: 667] (5094)
  • [2005-07-11 10:17]
  • [+]

Beautiful composition Julia! Excellent BG!
Excellent reflections. Great job!

hey what a lovely photo,
whilst cycling along the tow-path, i'm sure this was a very quick point and shoot to capture the moment (image) and its great,
i must disagree with your comments in as much as the swan isnt OVER exposed as such but it looks like the camera has pre auto focused and exposed for the swans upper back and tail and has set an auto-exposure for the lowlight, BUT (and a big BUT) if the camera had exposed for the swans head and eyes, thus correctly exposing for the top of its wings, then i doubt if the signets would have been so well exposed for colour and detail !!
the ONLY comment i can make, is try setting the camera in aperture priority or manual at around f5.6 to f8 for depth of field and set spot focus/meter and then if you havent got a monopod support your camera on your cycle handlebars or a tree, fence or something to stop camera shake, (which it appears there is a slight amount of)
but i say again, its a LOVELY photo of a very special moment and i wish i had been lucky enough to take it, personally i think thats what photography is all about, being in the right place at the right time, and lucky for you, you were !!


  • Great 
  • wallie (34)
  • [2005-09-01 14:58]

Nothing to say!


I am glad that in spite of the slight over exposed area you posted this charming scene, Julia. Frankly, finding the right exposure for both the white swan and the grey cygnets is a quasi impossible task. Using spot metering (as suggested by stugold) on the white would have resulted in extremely underexposed cygnets. Perhaps they could have sonehow been rescued with Photoshop, but I am not an expert. In any case, your photo is outstanding, and as you can see by the number of comments it has received, posting it was well worth it. TFS.

Very gentle and nice image. Perfect composition.

Good capture. Excellent composition and contrast. Lovely. The reflection in water is a plus. The look the grownup gives to you is a plus too. TFS

hi julia!
very nice situation with the
beautiful swans!
fine composition!

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